Sparkly finger nails
Women are seen as a more accurate barometer of consumer confidence than men. Economists say that a rise in spending on women's shoes is one of the first things to rise as a downturn comes to an end. On the flip side, rises in cheap bits of beautification (such as nail varnish or lipstick) tend to show weakness in the economy. Latest numbers from eBay.ie show that sales of nail varnish hav risen 4.2 per cent in the last year.
Number of immigrants
'Magda' highlighted the role of non-nationals and immigrants in any possible economic recovery last week. According to the Immigrant Council of Ireland, "the number of incoming immigrants is falling, but those who are here want to stay". Stripping out benefit tourists, the general trend of rising immigration indicates an expectation of higher employment and better standards of living.
Waterford Stanley sales
Like an Aga... except designed and made here. Waterford Stanley stoves are the Rolls Royce of posh cookers. Sales of the solid fuel stoves rose by a hefty 40 per cent last year. Buying one of these babies isn't like going down to the local chain store and picking up a Beko. It's capital expenditure with a capital 'C' and a sure sign of confidence in the future. Or that consumers want to save a big chunk of money off their heating bills.
Irish nine-year yield
With Enda and the lads looking to pull a fast one by avoiding giving us a chance to vote on Europe, investors are seeing this as a good thing. We're so angry that we'd probably vote 'No' and help nudge the whole eurozone towards the abyss. Bypassing the population and nodding it through in the Dail is good for Europe. Not for our anger. Debt markets are getting way more positive on Ireland, with bond yields continuing to fall well below IMF bailout levels.
According to the CSO, unemployment has fallen considerably in the under 25-year-old bracket. A very significant 11 per cent of men in this age group were removed from the Live Register in the first month of the year. In some cases, these persons may have obtained paid employment. Of course, it could also be that these men have chosen to emigrate to other shores to make their living.
Four companies have been going to the wall every day so far this year. In January, 135 companies went out of business, representing a 39 per cent increase on last year, according to the latest report from insolvencyjournal.ie. Crunching through the figures show that the Revenue is getting harder on businesses with a hike in the number of court petitions, too.
New car sales
It's all about January when it comes to sales of cars. New numbers from SIMI show that 21,313 new cars were bought last month -- that's an increase of 1.5 per cent on the same time last year. Windsor Motors also reported a 22 per cent hike in demand for used cars. This shows two things. There is some pent up demand but also that falls in disposable income mean that some consumers who would have considered buying a new car are now looking at the second or third hand option. But we'll take any improvement in sales as a step in the right direction.
Sunday Indo Business